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Upscale restaurant opening this week in New Orleans East

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“Look, we have our challenges in New Orleans East, but we don’t deserve the stigma, the cliché…” Councilor Oliver Thomas said.

NEW ORLEANS — Leaders in New Orleans East are trying to overcome an image of crime, neglect and a lack of trade. A local entrepreneur says she never doubted opening her new business there.

Melika Honore’ decided to consciously open her newest store in New Orleans East, then patiently waited for the pandemic to end. At 5pm on Wednesday evenings, that dream becomes a reality and she believes guests will come if they build it.

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“The red came because it’s my favorite color. It’s bold. It represents love, fire. fire, that’s me That’s my personality,” said Honoré, 44.

Place an obstacle in Melika Honore’s path and she will turn it green.

“(Hurricane) Katrina was a terrible thing to happen to our town, but it forever changed my family’s life for the better,” she said.

You and potential employees at a well-known music club needed a 24-hour daycare. So she opened her own.

“And I had an income tax check and haven’t worked for anyone since.”

This investment, along with hard work, very long hours and the burden of taking the financial risk, has grown into several ventures including day care and financial advice to other women entrepreneurs. And now the mother-of-three is opening an upscale adult music and restaurant Wednesday for what she calls adults in her age group. The Verdict, as it is called, shows the downside of people who made the wrong choices and the abundance that life multiplies upon you when you make the right choices in life like she did.

“I could have put this place anywhere, right? Somewhere. I’ve had several offers on Oak Street, right? Various property owners were like, ‘Hey, we see the vision,’ but I knew in my heart it had to be in New Orleans East,” Honore said.

“Look, we have our challenges in East New Orleans, but we don’t deserve the stigma, the cliché, especially when things are happening in ‘West’ New Orleans,” Councilor Oliver Thomas said.

Eastern Councilor Oliver Thomas points to the cheaper real estate prices in his district and its development.

“Look at the new noise barriers, look at the new lights from Crowder to Read, now look at the new police plan where we have police on the side of the highway,” Thomas pointed out.

Melika understands the concern about crime and faces it every night with police and security guards, even escorting people to their cars.

“We can say we want New Orleans to come back, but we have to make it happen. We have to do it so it can come back,” Honoré explained.

The Verdict has already hired 25 employees. And many family members will work there, too, including her mom, who is behind some of the recipes, including gumbo egg rolls with or without okra and fried bread pudding egg rolls.

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